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Cyprus a tax efficient EU Intellectual Property Location (Cyprus Ip Box)

Intellectual Property (IP) can be one of the most valuable assets or an organisation. Therefore choosing the right location for the centralisation and management of the IP is a very important strategic business decision. The ideal location to establish an IP structure is one that can serve the organisation’s business strategies, safeguard and protect its IP whilst offering a tax beneficial environment.

In 2016 Cyprus implemented the new IP Box Regime, complying with EU regulations and OECD BEPS Action 5 rules, whilst still effectively remaining an ideal location to register an IP company.
Furthermore in 2020, the Cyprus House of Representatives approved a bill amending Section 9(1)(l) of the Income Tax Law which introduced a number of changes with respect to the tax treatment of intangible assets. More accurately upon disposal of intangible assets the resulting capital gain will not be taxable under Capital gains Tax. This became effective as of 1 January 2020.

Cyprus offers an efficient and competitive IP tax regime. As an EU Member State and signatory of all major IP treaties and protocols, Cyprus guarantees maximum protection and certainty for IP owners. Amongst the Member States of the EU, the Island’s IP Box Regime offers the most competitive program in terms of effective tax rate, range of Qualifying IP assets, deduction rates and gains on disposal.

What are the main provisions of the Cyprus IP regime?

The new provisions provide exemptions from tax of income related to the IP. More specifically:
  • 80% of worldwide qualifying profits generated from the qualifying assets is deemed to be a tax deductible expense
  • 80% of profit generated from the disposal of IP owned by Cypriot resident companies (net of any direct expenses) is exempt from income tax
  • Maximum Effective tax rate of 2,5%
What asset is considered as a Qualifying Asset?

According to the regulations, a Qualifying Asset (QA) is the asset which was acquired, developed or exploited by a person while doing his/her business. It is the result of the business’s Research and Development efforts, except the intellectual property related to marketing.
Under the new Cyprus IP regime, Qualifying Assets include the following:
  • Patents (as defined in the amended Patent Law)
  • Software, computer programs
  • Other intangible assets protected by law which fall under one of the below criteria:
  1. Utility models, intellectual property assets which provide protection to plants and genetic material, orphan drug designations and patent extensions.
  2. Non-obvious, useful and novel intangible assets that the person who using these does not earn an annual revenue of more than €7.5 million (€50 million if it is a group)
QA do not include trade names, brands, trademarks, image rights and other intellectual property used for the marketing of goods and services.

How to calculate Qualifying Profits (QP)?

The new Cyprus IP regime adopts the nexus fraction to determine the amount of qualifying profits allowed to be considered as a tax deductible expense. 
Qualifying Profits (QP) is the ratio of the Overall Income (OI) corresponding to the fraction of the Qualifying Expenditure (QE) plus the Uplift Expenditure (UE) over the Overall Expenditure (OE) incurred for the QA. The formula is as below:
As abovementioned, the taxpayer may choose to waive 80% of this amount for each tax year in part or in whole.

What are Qualifying Expenses?

Qualifying Expenditure is the sum of all Research & Development (R&D) expenditure that was incurred for the development, enhancement and the creation of a QA. This expenditure should be directly related to the QA.
  • Salary and wages
  • Direct costs
  • General expenses related with R&D
  • Commission expenditure related with R&D
  • R&D expenditure outsourced to irrelevant parties
However, a Qualifying Expenditure does not include:
  • The acquisition cost of an intangible asset
  • Interest paid or payable
  • Expenditure for acquisition or construction of immovable property
  • Amounts paid or payable directly or indirectly to a related person to conduct R&D, irrespective if these costs relate to a cost sharing agreement
  • Costs which cannot be proved to be directly related with a specific QA
Under the Cyprus IP Regime, any R&D expenditure that has been assigned to unrelated parties, as well as any expenses of general and theoretical nature for the R&D that cannot be allocated to the Qualifying Expenditure of a specific QA, can be allocated proportionately to the QA.

Who is qualified to enjoy the tax treatment under the Cyprus IP Regime?

Qualifying Persons (QP) who are eligible to waive 80% of their QP under the Cyprus IP Regime include:
  • Cyprus tax resident taxpayers
  • Tax resident Permanent Establishments (PEs) of non-tax resident persons
  • Foreign PEs which are subject to Cyprus taxation
The amended provisions also ensured that the taxpayer can elect whether a foreign PE is taxable in Cyprus in order to be classified as a QP under the new IP regime.

Any other changes need to know?
The Income Tax Law (ITL) introduced amendments regarding capital allowance for all intangible assets (excluding goodwill and assets qualifying for the existing IP Regime).

Under the new Cyprus IP Regime and the ITL provisions, the capital costs of the assets will be considers as a capital allowance for tax deduction and can be spread over the useful life (maximum 20 years) of the asset.

The taxpayer can also choose not to claim the capital allowance for the QA in a particular tax year. Upon the disposal of the QA, the taxpayer is required to prepare a balance statement including any balancing addition subject to Income Tax and any tax deduction.

Additional reasons in using Cyprus as a tax efficient EU Intellectual Property

1. Location and lifestyle

Cyprus offers an affordable lifestyle, safety, tranquillity and an educated multinational talented workforce. It makes it an ideal jurisdiction for corporate headquartering.
The island offers a relaxed way of living needed to create and foster new IP ideas.

2. Tax incentives
Tax residents of Cyprus may also receive either a 50% or 20% tax deduction on personal income tax, granted for 10 years.
Non-domiciled individuals who become Cyprus tax residents can obtain tax exemption on dividends and interests for a period of 17 years on their worldwide income.
In addition, there is no estate duty, wealth tax, gift tax or inheritance tax in Cyprus.

3. Access to Capital and Banking Services
Both the banking sector and the Fintech hub tech environment in Cyprus are focused on technological development.
Access to capital form the ever-growing Fund Industry and Fintech gurus that have relocated or operate from Cyprus make it an ideal place to develop and finance new IP projects. 

4. Immigration
As a member of the EU, citizens from all EU member states can freely work in Cyprus. Moreover tech and research companies are entitled to employ up to 15 third-country nationals as directors and middle management executives, and any number of qualified third-country nationals in possession of required ICT skills.
Third-country nationals and employees with residence and employment permits can relocate families, provided that the necessary conditions are met.

Last but not the least
Under the new Cyprus IP Regime, it is required that the company/structure has sufficient substance in Cyprus.
More precisely, it means the company has to prove its management and control is conducted in and from Cyprus with experienced and qualified directors, as well as office space. We can assist you in this regard.

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